My Week Ending 2020-03-29

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

  • Since you’re isolated at home, it’s time to learn some new things. Here are some Python projects to get you started.
  • I was so impressed with how quickly Canada’s parliament got together to pass a relief bill and used common sense in doing so. Unlike south of the border where every representative had to be there, only a small group proportionate to the number of seats held was needed.
  • This was something that Premier Ford said that he would do if elected. It’s so sad that it took people being self-isolated to make it happen.
  • This was the first bit of information that it isn’t going to be education as usual in Ontario come April 6. I still haven’t seen the final date announced though.
  • This is a good news story if you like Mac and Cheese and who doesn’t. What puts them over the top though are sliced up pieces of hot dog in them.
  • Some people might find this a bit geeky but it’s good information to know if you own a Chromebook or are thinking of getting one.
  • I’d read rumblings about problems in Peel but had no idea to what extent they reached. This is a depressing story to read.
  • This is a good resource from Google and many people will be able to use it to help themselves right away. But school districts that have dropped their computer consultants will have a lot of people tap tapping on their iPads wondering why it’s not working.
  • This is such an important message. “Just teach online” they say. Hah! Think of all those who will be left behind.
  • We’ve read about the drop in pollution in China and Italy with a country reacting to the virus and stopping spewing stuff into the air. How about Canada? This can only be a good thing for the environment.
  • I’ve been kind of careful about recommending online resources because they’re not all equally as good. Plus, there are privacy concerns that need to be thought through. But, this offering from Time seems impressive.
  • You never really know your community’s priorities until you see what is declared as an Essential Workplace. In Ontario, we now know. It’s kind of difficult to argue with these. It has left my town virtually a ghost town now.
  • This was such a stark difference between the pictures of traffic in India that show a country on the move.
  • Details were leaked about the negotiated collective agreement with the Catholic teachers (OECTA)
  • This is a question that so many people have asked. Why are liquor stores considered an essential service in Ontario?
  • This story about Trump wanting to put US troops near the Canadian border sparked one of the more interesting and funny hashtags I’ve seen in a long time. #NoCanadian
  • I hate reading stories like this because I touch surfaces like these all the time but it’s a good reminder for all times, not just for this time.
  • On the lighter side of education, some interesting moments from Online Classes this week. Imagine how it expands to every student in the province.

Blog Posts on
doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog. If you’re looking for a week in review for doug–off the record, you came to the right place.

#FollowFriday – March 27, 2020

voicEd Radio

This week on voicEd Radio, Stephen Hurley and I chatted about Teacher Illness, Digital Divides, Mending Neighbourhoods, and 2 Degrees of Separation with special guest Will Gourley.

This week’s show –

Intro Song:

All of the podcasts are archived here.

Blog posts this week came from:

  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Martina Finnegan – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • The Beast – @thebeastedu

Technology Troubleshooting

No Chromebook stories this week. It’s not that my Chromebook is better; I rolled it back to the Stable channel and the problem persists.

This week, I got a panic DM from a high school and neighbourhood friend that her iPad wasn’t working. In true Apple fashion, there were no error messages, just a picture of an Apple connector pointing to iTunes. To me, the fix was a no-brainer.

But, the story doesn’t end there.

She had never connected her iPad to a computer and hence, iTunes before. As I tried to help her, I gave all the advice without asking that question.

So, I convinced her to download iTunes onto her desktop computer but then there was another challenge – she didn’t know how to connect the iPad to the computer. She didn’t know what cable to use.

Eventually, we got to the point where I explained that the cable was there but just plugged into her charger. Pull it out and make the connection. All was good from that point on. iPad with the latest OS and a search for a few of the apps that she was missing at the Apple Store.

Why can’t Apple come up with decent error messages and instruction for how to fix things? I’m certainly no expert in the Apple world but a lot of anxiety would have been headed off in this case.

Video of the Week

Right now, the world needs a little more of this. Ignore the studying part.

Photo of the Week

It was a bit of a nice afternoon earlier this week so Jaimie took his self-isolation to the patio.

If you look closely, you’ll see he’s sticking his tongue out at this virus.

Thanks for reading. Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting.


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If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Whatever happened to …

… mouse pads?

This might have fallen in nicely with a couple of previous questions about mice with balls. here and here but hey …

I don’t know about you but, with all the isolation stuff going on, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and tidying. The worst offender is my computer area. It’s always a pain to clean since you actually have to move things around, get out the compressed air, figure out how the brush attachment works on the vacuum cleaner, get under and behind a heavy desk, etc.

I have a number of shelves that contain treasures. To be honest, I haven’t used some of them in years but I just can’t force myself to throw them away. Don’t judge me; look at your computer area.

As I was cleaning, I fully expected to find a mouse pad or two. There were times that they were worth their weight in gold. I guess it’s testament to a previous cleaning that I was unable to find one.

Exhibitors always had stacks of them on their tables as giveaways for visitors at conferences or at the registration desk to make sure that people took just one. Each pad was glitzier than the next to catch your eye. The only problem when I’d be in Michigan or wherever ISTE or CSTA was held, I’d feel a bit embarrassed declaring them at the border. “Just how many computers do you have, sir?” Upon my return to work, my secretary always had first dibs on one to outshine the others that she worked with.

Of course, this goes back to a time when our computer mice actually had roller balls in them. The design of the mouse pad was rubber on the bottom so that it didn’t slide and then typically some sort of surface on top to make the ball roll smoothly for effective computer use.

And, I have mouse pad memories!

  • When we were buying IBM computers, the installers came from MicroAge and while IBM didn’t provide mouse pads, MicroAge did. One for each computer. They were bright red and had MicroAge embossed on the top. Talk about product placement
  • I’ve always been a note taker and, in the early days, quick notes on your computer weren’t a thing. Sure, you could open a Word Processor but for the quick and easy note – nothing. But, I found that 3M which makes Post-it notes sold an electronic version of the Post-it. I bought a copy for myself and it came with a cool mouse pad. Instead of a thick rubber pad, it was absolutely flat with rubber on one side and a grippy surface on the other. Loved it
  • There was a time when I was going to get into architectural drafting to teach it to the technology teachers. The software that they used required very precise drawing and it came with its own glassy mouse pad and a special mouse with a cross-hair viewable through the top
  • But, the worse thing about mouse pads came when you and your mouse got to the edge of it without knowing. Your mouse would fall off the edge and the cursor jumps all over the place. It made student workspace a challenge since they needed extra room just for the mouse pad. Social distancing challenges at their finest

For a Sunday morning, I hope that you’re old enough experienced enough to remember the days where this was a critical accessory and can share some stories.

  • what was your first computer with a mouse that required a mouse pad?
  • did you hit the exhibitor tables grabbing every mouse pad that you could?
  • do you have a favourite mouse pad?
  • did your students use the mouse pad as a place to send messages to other classes because they knew that teachers couldn’t get rid of them?
  • is your computer area all scratched up like mine is because you don’t use a mousepad any more?

Please share your padding experiences in the comments below.

Check out the entire collection of Sunday morning memories here. And, if you’re so inclined, throw a suggestion in the Padlet for a future post.

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If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

OTR Links 03/29/2020

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.